- Title: Bodies of Bolivian victims of Colombian crash repatriated home
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA (DECEMBER 2, 2016) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF HEARSES CONTAINING BODIES OF BOLIVIAN CRASH VICTIMS ARRIVING TO AIR BASE HEARSES ARRIVING FAMILIES AND OFFICIALS ARRIVING WHITE HEARSE ARRIVING OFFICIALS TAKING COFFIN OUT OF CAR VARIOUS OF PRIEST BLESSING COFFINS FAMILIES AND DELEGATIONS WATCHING
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 15:46
- Keywords: Evo Morales Chapecoense plane crash investigation bodies
- Location: MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA AND LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- City: MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA AND LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Colombia
- Reuters ID: LVA0015B6ZT53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The remains of the five Bolivian victims of this week's Colombian plane crash were sent home on a Bolivian air force plane on Friday (December 2) for final burial.
Hearses arrived on a Medellin air base where they received military honours and a blessing from a priest. Families and officials also gathered for the ceremony before the hearses were loaded onto a plane from the Bolivian air force.
"Since yesterday, we had everything ready to send off the five victims with officials and sub-officials of the Colombian air force that have felt the pain of our Bolivian brothers and we wanted to hold this this dignified tribute to the people who died on this flight," said Colombian colonel, Fabio Sanchez, the commander of the air base.
The disaster on Monday night killed 71 people and shocked soccer fans the world over. The LAMIA Bolivia BAe146 airliner apparently ran out of fuel, lost electrical power and was preparing for an emergency landing when it crashed.
Only six people survived, including three members of the soccer squad en route to the Copa Sudamericana final, the biggest game in its history.
Bolivia will take "drastic measures" to determine what caused the crash, President Evo Morales told a news conference on Friday. Earlier this week, the country suspended LAMIA's operating license and replaced the national aviation authority's management.
"I was surprised that they had authorization, legalization. So yesterday, after a short meeting - drastic measures will be taken," said Morales.
Two black boxes from the crash site on a muddy hillside in wooded highlands near the town of La Union will be sent this week for examination by experts in Britain, where the jet was manufactured, officials said.
The Colombian aviation authority's initial investigation confirmed Bolivian pilot Miguel Quiroga's final words to the control tower at Medellin's airport on a crackly recording obtained by local media.
He can be heard telling the control tower the plane was "in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel."
Quiroga requested urgent permission to land before the audio went silent. Air traffic control had asked him to wait while another flight made an emergency landing.
The plane circled for about 16 minutes from its first communication with the tower until the crash, officials said. International flight regulations require aircraft to carry enough reserve fuel to fly for 30 minutes after reaching their destination.
Local media in Brazil, citing an internal document, reported an official at Bolivia's aviation agency raised concerns about LAMIA's flight plan.
The official urged the airline to come up with an alternative route because the journey of 4 hours and 22 minutes was the same length as the plane's maximum flight range. The reports said the official, whom Reuters could not reach for comment, did not have the power to stop the flight.
A Colombian civil aviation document seen by Reuters confirmed the flight time was set to be 4 hours and 22 minutes.
LAMIA Chief Executive Officer Gustavo Vargas on Wednesday said the plane had been correctly inspected before departure and should have had enough fuel for about 4-1/2 hours. In such situations, he said, the pilot decides whether to refuel.
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